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Albion City Council making push to enforce jaywalking ordinance within city limits


So you say I’m not a news guy? Well, coaches are kind of like mayors and basic citizens are the fans (including the belligerent-parent prototype.) I’ve been gracefully blessed with a lot of opportunities in Jackson thus far and here is the beginning of school board meetings and city council get-togethers that I will be covering.

By RJ Walters / For the Jackson Citizen Patriot

The Albion City Council isn’t ready to walk out on enforcing jaywalking in the city limits just yet.

Despite failed attempts in the past to institute a “zero-tolerance policy” against reckless pedestrian behavior, council member Andrew Zblewski voiced the need this week for public safety officers to take a renewed stance on it.

Zblewski said jaywalking is a normal convention in the city, and a city ordinance that calls for a $110 fine for jaywalking lacks punch if law enforcement officials do not remind offenders of it.

“I’ve seen no change since we originally said we were going to enforce the law,” Zblewski said. “We paid a $50 abatement for a new sidewalk, and it’s a nice sidewalk so let’s use it.”

After a statement by Eric Miller, chief of public safety, the council unanimously agreed to put the “zero-tolerance policy” back into effect.

Miller said he would inform his officers, but it’s not a simple fix in a community that has failed to respond in the past.

“Just so you know, there will be more altercations if we do more than just ask people to get off the streets,” he said. “When we ask for people’s information it may start a conflict that results in a physical altercation.

“I travel extensively around the country and around the world and wherever there are sidewalks people walk on the sidewalks  — except in Albion.”

Miller said similar enforcement practices have fizzled out before because community members get upset when juveniles are arrested for hindering or obstructing police officers when they resist giving information needed for a citation.

Miller agrees that people need to obey basic traffic safety laws, but it’s no secret a lot of people don’t have money to pay fines. There is also the increased possibility of criminal charges being filed against people with otherwise clean records.

“We have a number of senior citizens who get up early every morning, before the sun comes up, and they walk in the street, and they have their whole life,” he said. “We’ve been dealing with this for generations, it’s been published in the paper, we make announcements at schools every year … and if people don’t want to simply comply with it, especially kids, then this is where we are.”

Mayor Joe Domingo said he knows the Department of Public Safety is concerned with the matter, and officers just need to be more proactive.

“Public Safety needs to make more record of how many (people) are actually walking in the streets, how many problems are we having daily and things like that,” he said. “That’s how things need to work around here — we need more information and more people to come and say we’re having a problem.”

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About rjwalters

I am what you think I am — a journalist. Actually when I was hired at my current job, which by the way is Sports Editor of the Hillsdale Daily News in Hillsdale, Mich., I applied for a position titled "Wordsmith", so at my best I'll call myself a writer attempting to be a wordsmith extraordinaire.

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